What is Climate Change Mitigation?
Climate change mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. There are several different pathways that we as a community can take to reduce emissions. This includes renewable energy sources, energy efficiency programs, reducing waste, reducing transport emissions and carbon capture technologies.
What does our emissions inventory look like?
An emissions inventory is essentially a stocktake of our city’s current greenhouse gas generations by source and sector, which shows how and where emissions are being generated. Across our Local Government Area our largest source of emissions is electricity and gas generation, which is also known as stationary energy. Given our strong industry base, up to 72% of our community emissions total emissions are from industry related activities. Council operations are responsible for only 5% of our city-wide emissions but Council is committed to demonstrating leadership on climate change.
What types of actions are in the Plan?
This Plan is for the period 2020-2022 and there are 92 actions for Council to reduce its own emissions and to support the community and businesses to reduce theirs. The actions are separated into 6 themes - Climate Change Leadership and Planning, Energy efficiency and Renewable energy, Transport, Waste, Trees and Vegetation and Working with our Community. This Plan prescribes actions for delivery for the next two years and includes actions to establish partnerships with government, business, industry and community groups, undertake required research and pilot projects within our community, and to roll out some key projects to reduce Council’s emissions.
Who is responsible for implementing the actions in the Plan?
This Plan is a Council focused action plan to reduce greenhouse gas generation in line with the emission reduction target of net zero emissions by 2030 for Council operations. We will lead by example and implement actions to reduce our environmental impact and emissions from Council operations.
No actions have allocated to other organisations or groups but there are many actions involving creating partnerships, collaboration and engagement with all sectors. Council will also fill a stewardship and advocacy role to assist the community, business and industry to reduce their emissions to move towards the net zero emissions by 2050 for the City of Wollongong.
Why is it only two-year Plan?
It is an initial two-year Plan (2020-2022) to focus on important actions and projects happening right now, and the development of important collaborations, partnerships, research and strategies that will be required for us all to move towards net zero emissions. We know this is a short timeframe, but the Plan aims to set the scene for how Council intends to move forward with meeting the emissions reduction targets and supporting the city to meet its targets.
It is the first of many plans to strive to meet the targets, with each new plan being informed by regular re-inventories of Council and City of Wollongong emissions. The next inventory of emissions is set to be conducted in 2022. A new Climate Change Mitigation Plan for 2022-2026 will then be developed based on these new inventories, progress from this current plan, success stories, and research. As new technology evolves, we will be seeking opportunities to use it to assist in achieving our target.
What impact will implementation of this Plan have on our emissions?
Where adequate information was available, actions aimed at directly reducing emissions from Council’s operations were subject to a calculation of the expected emissions reduction. From these actions alone, it is expected that the annual emissions of Council operations will be reduced by 25% in the next two years, many attributed to management of waste.
The Plan also includes a vast array of enabling actions, which will indirectly contribute to Council’s and the City of Wollongong emissions reduction targets through supporting strategies, education, monitoring and reporting. While the impact of these actions is not currently able to be quantified, future plans will further investigate expected emissions reductions as monitoring tools and data become more readily available.
What engagement have we done to date?
Community engagement on climate change mitigation was undertaken through the engagement activities for the draft Sustainable Wollongong 2030: A Climate Healthy City Strategy and for the emissions reduction targets. The community told us their priorities are renewable energy used in Council operations, businesses and the community, sustainable transport options, less waste to landfill including FOGO, landfill gas capture, more trees planted and for Council to demonstrate leadership in relation to climate change. We have used this feedback and priorities to develop the 6 themes and actions for this Plan. A refining workshop was also held to further review community ideas and strategies to shape the draft Plan. We now want to hear your thoughts and check that we got it right.
What happens after the public exhibition period ends?
All feedback received will used to make amendments to the draft Plan, which will then be submitted to Council for endorsement later in the year.
What about climate adaptation?
This Plan focuses on climate change mitigation only i.e. reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A separate ‘Adaptation’ plan will be prepared to address adapting to any unavoidable impacts of climate change as they occur.